What can I do in hot weather to prevent heatstroke in my pet?

Heatstroke is a state of hyperthermia (core body temperature elevated above the normal range) resulting in thermal injury to tissues. Heatstroke occurs when heat generation exceeds the body’s ability to lose heat. Heatstroke is a very serious condition: it can lead to multiple organ failure and animals can die quickly if not treatedAll animals are susceptible to heatstroke so you need to make sure that you take active steps to prevent it.

How should you treat a pet with heatstroke?

  1.  Instigate emergency first aid to help normalise your pet's body temperature. Apply or spray tepid/cool water onto their fur/skin, followed by fanning to maximise heat loss. Don't use ice-cold water or ice as this may exacerbate the problem. Wetting down the area around your pet can also help.
  2. Take your pet to the nearest vet immediately. Heatstroke is a life-threatening emergency, so even if your pet looks like they may be recovering or you just suspect they might have suffered heatstroke they should still always be checked by a vet. Heatstroke can cause organ damage which might not appear straight away. Given the seriousness of this condition, it is better to be safe than sorry and have your pet checked out.

What are the signs of heatstroke?

Signs may vary between individuals, but commonly include: 

What are the main predisposing factors?

How do you avoid heatstroke for your pets?

You can help to prevent heatstroke by ensuring your pets are kept in appropriate environmental conditions and being aware of the symptoms so action can be taken swiftly.

How do vets help pets with heatstroke?

Vets are trained to assess the severity of the heatstroke and then provide emergency medical treatment as required. They will check your pet’s body temperature and vital signs and then instigate emergency treatment which may include:

More tips for taking care of pets in hot weather

Other exacerbating factors can include:

This website provides general information which must not be relied upon or regarded as a substitute for specific professional advice, including veterinary advice. We make no warranties that the website is accurate or suitable for a person’s unique circumstances and provide the website on the basis that all persons accessing the website responsibly assess the relevance and accuracy of its content.


Article ID: 353
Last updated: 20 Jan, 2017
Revision: 31
Companion animals -> What can I do in hot weather to prevent heatstroke in my pet?
http://kb.rspca.org.au/entry/353/